Thursday, July 2, 2015


Albany Session Recap


By Robert Press

BRONX, NEW YORK, JULY 2- Let’s recap this past session which came to an end on Friday June 26th

There were several major items that had to be taken care of: Rent Regulations that had expires in mid June, The 421A Tax Abatement program, Mayoral Control of the NYC public school system, and some other legislation such as judicial reform, Mayor de Blasio's 3 MTA Board appointments (to be confirmed by the State Senate), and anything else that was not done due to the Dysfunction in the state legislature.

Taking rent regulations first, which was Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie's major item that he was concerned about, let's see how he did. Well rent regulations will be in effect for at least four more years, but the apartment vacancy decontrol level was raised from $2,500 to only $2,700, and not the $3,000 level that many NYC assembly members had wanted it to be increased to. New tenant protections, there were none announced other than the 2 mentioned in the previous sentence, so there must be no new tenant protection legislation that came from this past session. You can go to my blog at to the June archive heading 'Statement from Senator Rivera on the end of Session. In his statement Senator Rivera states that he was deeply disappointed in the end result of this legislative session. Senator Rivera says that hardworking New Yorkers were used as political pawns, the failure to make significant changes in the rent regulation laws will result in the loss of almost 90,000 current rent regulated units, there was little effort to fix the broken 421A program, Charter and private schools have made out much better than the struggling (as Senator Rivera says, but failing as many of us still say) public schools, and that no criminal justice reform legislation was passed. If you go to the bottom of the blog posting there is a statement from Assemblyman Victor Pichardo which tell of how the rent regulations deal enhances tenant protection. So who is correct on the rent regulation issue, State Senator Gustavo Rivera or Assemblyman (and former chief of staff to Senator Rivera) Victor Pichardo.

Senator Rivera also fails to make mention of the State Senate request and approval with the State Assembly of a $1.3 Million property tax rebate for homeowners outside of New York City. So why were the homeowners of the Bronx, who need this tax rebate more than the millionaires living outside of New York City, left out? Perhaps Assembly Speaker Heastie can answer that question to the struggling homeowners in his assembly district, since I know he will not answer that question if I was to ask it of him, and to Mr. Mike Whyland Press Person to Assemblyman Heastie when will I get my interview of Assemblyman Heastie? We can do it here in this newspaper if you would like you already know some of my questions, and right now the answers are 'NO COMMENT” by Assemblyman Carl Heastie. Perhaps I should ask someone like Marcia Kramer of WCBS T.V. to take this over from me, after all she did some great reporting of former State Senator Pedro Espada Jr.

The new Marriott Hotel at the Hutch Metro Center officially opened last week, and there are photos on my blog of the event. This new Marriott hotel is owned by Simone Development, and is a franchise of Marriott International. It was 

said that a short distance from the hotel (about 250 feet) that the new Metro North Morris Park station will be built in a few short years, and that travel from this new Marriott Hotel to midtown Manhattan will take less than 30 minutes. It was said that the hotel is currently operating at near capacity since its unofficial opening on Mother’s Day.

Lastly, no one with any ties to Community Board 8 had anything to do with the decision of the Kingsbridge National Ice Center at the Kingsbridge Armory located just outside of Community Board 8 in the Kingsbridge Heights section of the Bronx. It seems odd to this columnist that Councilman Fernando Cabrera has chosen as his representatives to the KNIC Community Advisory Council three people from the Riverdale area of Community Board 8, including the former Vice-Chair of CB 8 Maria Khurry who lives in Riverdale. One would have to question that since Councilman Cabrera has chosen three people from CB 8 including its former Vice-Chair, why then did Councilman Cabrera not insist that Community Board 8 be a part of the KNIC process. It kind of makes you wonder what the priorities of Councilman Cabrera are. The Kingsbridge Armory lies entirely in Community Board 7, and Community Board 7 was the only community board involved in the KNIC process. Why now are people living in Community Board 8 being brought into the process, and why not current CB 8 members?

If you have any political information that you want to share or have checked out, any comments about this column, or would like to have an event listed or covered in this column or on my blog you can e-mail us at or call 718-644-4199 Mr. Robert Press.

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